Thursday, September 15, 2022

Feminism at the League of Nations - Janice Fiamengo

The period between the First and Second World Wars, between the vehement agitation for the vote and the social convulsions of the 60s, is often thought to have been a time of relative quiet for organized feminism.

But the quiet is an illusion. In fact, the inter-war period was a time of intense activism, as feminist leaders inaugurated the pivotal next phase of the feminist movement, which involved the ideological capture of international and non-governmental organizations—none more so than the League of Nations.  

Feminism Between the Wars, The 1920s Lesbian Scene in Paris - Janice Fiamengo

The Roaring 20s was in many ways a dress rehearsal for the 1960s, inspired by economic prosperity and an intoxicating sense that traditional mores no longer applied, especially to women. Having achieved the more sober of the stated goals of the feminist movement—voting rights, professional opportunities—an unprecedented number of women decided to live openly as lesbians apart from men (though often supported by men’s money). Some of their statements prefigure the hateful lesbian separatist rhetoric that became popular a half century later.

Feminism Between the Wars: The Self Pity of Virginia Woolf - Janice Fiamengo

Feminist icon Virginia Woolf exemplified the direction that feminism would take in the decades after the First World War. No matter how many legal rights and professional opportunities women gained, feminists like Woolf continued to express condemnation of all men and conviction of oppression. In her landmark 1929 essay A Room of One’s Own, Woolf turned to alleged psychological oppression to justify her deep sense of grievance.  

Sex Insanity Amongst Early Feminists - Janice Fiamengo

Dissident British feminist Wilma Meikle published a book in 1917 to warn against aspects of the contemporary feminist movement that she hoped would not become dominant in the years after the First World War. Although she was proved wrong in her hopes, her book provides a fascinating window onto the roots of feminist sex delirium.

Objectification or Adoration, Love Poems in the English Renaissance Tradition

If it were true that the history of the west were the history of men oppressing women, we would expect to find some significant evidence of such oppression—of male entitlement to women’s bodies, sexual violence, or indifference to women’s pain—in the literature that privileged men wrote.

We would expect that some of the most culturally influential men of their time would at least occasionally reveal their contempt for women and their pleasure in controlling them.

What we encounter instead is a massive body of love poetry stretching back through the centuries in which extended adoration of the woman and expressions of dedicated or hopeless yearning form a major component, and in which the commission of violence is presented as the height of mental malady, as in Robert Browning’s sinister dramatic monologue “My Last Duchess” (1842).

Friday, July 15, 2022

Jane Austen’s Anti-Feminism - Janice Fiamengo

Although she is now often recruited by feminist critics to make points about women’s limited life choices, preeminent social satirist Jane Austen wrote to oppose the popular proto-feminist ideas of her time, and her warnings about Romantic self-indulgence remain relevant to our own.

Utopianism and Double Standards in Feminist Foremother Mary Wollstonecraft - Janice Fiamengo

Let us go even further back in feminist history to the late eighteenth century and the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft, an acclaimed proponent of women’s rights, whose 1792 treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is now widely regarded as the founding document of Anglophone feminism. As I will hope to show, Wollstonecraft’s commitment to the Enlightenment principles of equality and reason is at best skin deep, covering over a foundation of anti-male double standards and irrational hostility that forecast all too clearly the next 230 years of female supremacism.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Female Privilege on the Titanic - The Fiamengo File 2.0

During the Titanic disaster of 1912, men secured lifeboat seats for women and children, and those men who survived the sinking were grilled in the U.S. Senate about why they weren’t dead. The traditional notion that men owed women protection, and women owed men gratitude, was generally confirmed by the behavior of passengers and crew. The feminist response to the sinking, however, was to deny that women owed men anything, and to express outrage that men had never yet done enough for them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Nineteenth-Century Novelist Henry James Predicted Twentieth-Century Feminism

In 1914, a newly painted portrait of American novelist Henry James was attacked by a suffragette wielding a meat cleaver. It’s not clear whether the target was the painting or the novelist himself. It’s possible that the suffragette had been enraged by James’s 1886 masterpiece, The Bostonians, a work that rivals the writings of Ernest Belfort Bax as the Anglosphere’s most prescient nineteenth-century analysis of the doctrine of female supremacism.

Monday, May 2, 2022

The White Feather Campaign

It is sometimes assumed that at times of war, men become vitally important, and women stop taking them for granted. But history shows that even or especially at times of crisis, many women express hatred for men and contemptuous demands for their sacrifice, as became clear during the First World War in Britain.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Incendiary Rage of the Suffragettes

The British suffragettes are now lionized as self-sacrificing activists who won the vote for women in Great Britain. In fact, they probably delayed the granting of woman suffrage with their violence, and they offer a case study in the mass hysteria, longing for martyrdom, and narcissistic indifference to other people that so often characterize dangerous zealots.

From the time of its founding in 1903 until 1914, the Women’s Social and Political Union, the radical arm of the early 20th century British feminist movement, became an increasingly violent organization that distinguished itself from other women’s groups of the time by living up to its ominous motto “Deeds, not Words.”

How Nineteenth-Century Women Got Away with Murder

In his 1913 book The Fraud of Feminism, British barrister Ernest Belfort Bax described, with his characteristic wit, how “Female criminals are surrounded by a halo of injured innocence,” “convinced of the maliciousness of [their] accusers” and of their own lack of responsibility (p. 51-52). In fact, the historical record demonstrates a self-reinforcing pattern in which legal authorities and public opinion often excused rather than punished women’s bad actions, with the result that some women come to believe that in many circumstances they have the right to kill.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Early Feminists Advocated Exemption For Female Killers - Janice Fiamengo

Female killers have always excited a combination of horror and sympathy, the latter emotion almost never expressed for male killers. In the case of Sarah Jane Whiteling, a 40-year-old American woman who murdered the three members of her family in 1888, sympathy led a local psychiatric doctor to lobby for an insanity-based defense exclusive to women which, though not successful in commuting Whiteling’s sentence, found favor with other doctors and affirmed the many theories of women’s reduced criminal capacity that were common in the nineteenth century and remain common today.

Woman Murders Her Baby, Feminists Blame Men

Nineteenth century feminists claimed to speak on behalf of the vulnerable from a position of empathy that made their perspectives uniquely valuable. But when Hester Vaughn killed her newborn baby, feminists’ rage at men far outweighed their sympathy for Vaughn’s dead infant.

The case of Philadelphia resident Hester Vaughn (variously spelt Vaughan), who was tried and convicted for first-degree murder in the death of her newborn baby, is one of the most infamous cases of infanticide in American history, not only because of the sensational nature of the crime but also because of the manner in which feminist leaders seized on the incident to advance their anti-male agenda. The History Channel’s website informs readers today that the trial “exposed sexual harassment in 1868” and that Hester Vaughn’s dead baby “became a symbol in the fight for equal rights.” As we will see, it wasn’t quite that simple.

Friday, April 8, 2022

The Deadly Goddess Fantasy - The Fiamengo File 2.0 Producer Commentary

Monotheistic religions like Judaism, Islam and Christianity worship one God, usually presented as male, but polytheism came first and female deities have been imagined and worshiped in various cultures throughout human history. Greek mythology, for example, describes many including Hera, goddess of marriage and birth, and Athena, goddess of wisdom and intelligence, and Hinduism also describes many goddesses including Saraswati, Goddess of Knowledge.

The Western
Goddess movement could be said to have grown along with or even within feminism. Early feminists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, author of the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments, wrote on the topic but it wasn't until the 1970s and the rise of New Age religions that the Goddess movement really took off, and became an important, but divisive, issue in feminism.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

E. Belfort Bax - The Anti-Feminist Sage Whose Warnings Went Unheeded

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ernest Belfort Bax (1854-1926), a British barrister, philosopher, and journalist, almost single-handedly attempted to awaken the Anglophone world to the danger posed by feminist myths about women’s oppression. Very few listened at the time, and over a century later, Bax’s observations are more relevant than ever.

In 1896 (reprinted 1908), Ernest Belfort Bax published a book called The Legal Subjection of Men, which he co-authored with an anonymous fellow barrister. Based on Bax’s extensive knowledge of British law and court cases, the book was intended as a rejoinder to John Stuart Mill’s 1869 publication The Subjection of Women.

The book began with a caustic reflection on Mill’s feminist legacy, as follows:

Monday, March 21, 2022

John Stuart Mill, a Case Study in Male Feminism

Well-known 19th century English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, near the end of his life, a book in which he distinguished himself as a male feminist par excellence in his demand that women be given all the opportunities and privileges of men with none of their responsibilities or burdens—and he called that equality.

As barrister Ernest Belfort Bax would later claim, Mill’s feminist treatise was an “eloquent wail” that was all the more influential because it was “the reverse of legal truth” (Bax, The Legal Subjection of Men, p. 1).

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Could Men Legally Rape their Wives in the Nineteenth Century?

It is true that a man could not be criminally prosecuted for raping his wife in the 19th century English-speaking world, but it was not true that marital rape was accepted or that its harms were ignored.

One of the most popular and seemingly decisive pieces of feminist evidence of an oppressive patriarchal past is the claim that rape within marriage was legal until the second half of the twentieth century. It must have been the case, so the thinking goes, that wives were viewed as property and husbands given carte blanche to do whatever they liked with them. The real story is far more complicated.

Marital rape didn’t exist legally because man and woman were considered one person in marriage.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Were Marx and Engels Feminists?

One of the fundamental works of 19th century socialism took the Marxist analysis of workers under capitalism and applied it to the position of women in the family—with a lasting impact on feminist ideology.

In her book on the history of the nineteenth-century women’s movement, feminist Susan Kingsley Kent notes that “In their discourse on marriage, feminists borrowed terms and concepts utilized in discussions about the political economy of Victorian England” (Susan Kingsley Kent, Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914, p. 85).

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Even Back Then, the Future was Female

“The Future is Female.” This now-familiar feminist slogan has its roots in the unapologetic female chauvinism of over a century ago.

In 2013, a high-profile public debate took place in Toronto, Canada, part of the popular Munk Debates series. It showcased four women addressing the question “Are Men Obsolete?” Perhaps the fact that no men participated made the result a foregone conclusion—the ‘Yes’ side won easily, though the snide, mostly fact-free exchanges somewhat undermined the claim of the series to canvas “Big Ideas.” Two of the participants, New York Times writer Maureen Dowd and Atlanticmagazine editor Hanna Rosin had already published books glibly asserting male decline (titled respectively Are Men Necessary?
and The End of Men). Only one of the participants, dissident academic Camille Paglia, seriously defended men’s continuing civilizational significance.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Early Feminists Pathologized Male Sexuality - Janice Fiamengo

Nineteenth century debates about prostitution and disease ignited widespread feminist denunciations of male sexuality, which in their fury and deliberate dehumanization clearly foreshadow modern feminism’s hatred of male sexual nature.

Nineteenth century British and North American societies were periodically convulsed by discussions of prostitution, especially as it related to the spread of syphilis and gonorrhea, two then-incurable sexually transmitted diseases. Though historians cannot provide clear data about the number of people infected at this time, the diseases were widespread enough to cause serious concern amongst medical authorities, and to result in alarming rates of infertility, deformity, blindness, mental defect, and death.

Early Feminists Hoped to Destroy the Family - Janice Fiamengo

Many nineteenth-century feminists saw the traditional family as an oppressive institution and looked forward to its destruction.

Contrary to what we now believe, contempt for the traditional family and demands for female sexual liberation didn’t begin in the 1960s. Instead, hatred of the family was firmly rooted in nineteenth century feminist advocacy, which often asserted that marriage, including monogamy and childrearing, was oppressive for women.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Victimhood Craze in Early Feminism: The Case of Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Janice Fiamengo

The most famous name in American feminist history, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, provides a fascinating case study in the power of victimhood ideology.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) is an iconic figure in the American women’s movement. Convenor in 1848 of the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, author of its incendiary manifesto The Declaration of Sentiments,
E. Stanton
and tireless campaigner for over fifty years, Stanton was a beloved though controversial feminist whose assertion that women deserved the right to vote as an expression of equal citizenship is still widely admired. She is referred to by even conservative feminists as an “egalitarian” inspired by Enlightenment ideals (Sommers,
Freedom Feminism, 30). 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Infantilization of Men by the Prohibition Movement - Janice Fiamengo

150 years ago, even the most pro-family women in America were part of a movement that undermined masculine authority and paved the way for the acceptance of radical feminism.

Many non-feminists today express respect for the resolute Christian women who campaigned in 19th century America for the health of their nation.

Their primary objective was to outlaw the production and sale of alcohol, believing with some justification that alcoholism was at the root of poverty, work accidents, domestic abuse, and community violence.

Such women called themselves temperance advocates—though their goal was really prohibition, eventually ratified in 1919—and they have become in public memory the good feminists, who, unlike their more radical counterparts, entered public life with the goal of saving their menfolk rather than attacking them.

But the consequences, as we shall see, were to make feminist attack far more acceptable.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Feminism’s False Origin Story: The Struggle For the Vote - Janice Fiamengo

Feminism’s origin story about the right to vote is full of inaccuracies and outright myths.

Popular perception has it that over one hundred years ago, women fought long and hard for their rights, especially the right to vote, gained after the First World War. To gain this right, so the mythology goes, they had to battle widespread misogynistic contempt from privileged men.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Feminism Was Never About Equality - Janice Fiamengo

This is the first in a series about the myths and realities of feminist history.

False notions persist about the feminism of the past. Last fall, an article in the conservative web-magazine World Net Daily set up a predictable contrast between the “reasonable” feminism of the early 1900s and the unreasonable movement that took hold after the 1960s.

Author Hanne Herland claimed that “the early women’s movement fought for equal socio-political rights and respected the differences between the sexes.” 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Why I am Still an Anti-Feminist - Janice Fiamengo

My first video was Why I am an Anti-Feminist. I addressed the double standards of intersectional feminism, which divides the world into oppressor and oppressed, with the oppressor always powerful, privileged, and blameworthy, the oppressed always powerless, innocent, and admirable. 

The ideology promotes feeling over reason, sanctifies members of allegedly oppressed groups; and vilifies allegedly privileged men, especially white men, justifying discrimination against them, and the denial of their rights and humanity. 

In the videos that followed, I showed how intersectional feminism breeds deep personal and social dysfunction. It teaches members of alleged victim groups to hate alleged oppressor groups and to compete with one another for superior victim status and the perks that come along with that.

Victim status has become a much-coveted badge of authenticity and power, so much so that countless numbers of people, particularly women, pretend to be victims, in order to achieve the right to accuse, blame, punish, and destroy others, primarily men. Our society in general believes their victim claims, and law and social policy aid them in their vengeful actions.

Six and a half years after that first video, things are worse today than they were then, and the project that intersectional feminism unleashed is further advanced. Back then it seemed the tide was turning or at least might be made to turn. I was never very optimistic, but now I am less so.

Now we are in the midst of a world-wide contagion of fear and loathing in which mass scapegoating and the demand to be made safe have overtaken a large segment of society, and in which the weakening of men and the promotion of rage and hysteria are bearing their rotten fruit: today we witness the discrediting of freedom, of reason, of individual responsibility, courage, and decency; in their place we see the promotion of superstition, authoritarianism, cowardliness, virtue-signaling, and sadism.

Over the past year, I’ve spent more time than I wanted reading about viral load, spike proteins, and vaccine mandates, and in that time, one thing has become clear. Our present never-ending fear-mongering, spiraling accusations, and demands for compliance could not have developed without social justice ideology, which has created majorities in the western world willing and eager to give up every freedom in return for the promise of safety and the comforts of the collective—and few people able to oppose the trend, at least in some part because of the emasculation of men and the unleashing of female rage.

There are a lot of people talking about our present situation, many with more expertise than I. But few fully realize how long our situation has been in preparation. We think that things went wrong in the last decade, perhaps the last two or maybe three. Most of us know little about the conditions that pertained in the past because of the propaganda we’ve all been fed. Even our own memories come to seem dubious.

Over the next year, I will offer a series of videos and essays providing glimpses into the little-known history of intersectional feminism to help make sense of our own time and to explore how thoroughly the ground has been prepared for our pacification.

I present my findings in the hope that together men and women of good will can have a fuller understanding of how we got to where we are now and how we can imagine a better future. I hope you’ll find them interesting.